What you need to know about three-layer masks recommended by Health Canada

Nov 6 2020, 1:36 pm

Your three-layer mask should have a filter, and Health Canada says that you can make one using items that can be found in your home.

This recommendation comes after Dr. Theresa Tam, the chief public health officer of Canada, urged Canadians to wear a three-layer face mask to help protect themselves against the coronavirus this week.

According to Tam, a proper three-layer mask should have a “filter layer,” that can be changed regularly by the wearer, and that adding a filter to the same two-layer cloth mask can increase its effectiveness.

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The government website says that filters “add an extra layer of protection against COVID-19 by trapping small infectious particles,” and suggests that Canadians use either a folded paper towel or non-woven propylene materials such as craft fabric, which is used in the making of some reusable shopping bags.


“To improve the level of protection that can be provided by non-medical masks or face coverings, we are recommending that you consider a three-layer non-medical mask, which includes a middle filter layer,” said Tam at a press conference on November 3.

Proper material, structure, and fit

According to Health Canada, a mask or face covering can be homemade or purchased, and should:

  • Be made of at least three layers
    • The two outer layers should be tightly woven material fabric, such as cotton or linen
    • The middle layer should be a filter-type fabric, such as non-woven polypropylene fabric
  • Be large enough to completely and comfortably cover the nose, mouth and chin without gaping
  • Fit securely to the head
  • Not require frequent adjustments
  • Be changed as soon as possible if damp or dirty
  • Maintain its shape after washing and drying

Health Canada also has instructions on their website that you can follow to make your own mask at home.


According to the government website, as of the evening of November 5, there are 32, 338 active cases of the coronavirus in Canada, with the majority of total cases being resolved.

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